Just a quick recap of a great Saturday night birthday dinner (mine) at Christy's in Belmont Heights. One always waits for that other shoe to drop at a favorite eatery-- the signs that's they've finally jumped the shark and everything goes downhill. The rumors are flying that Christy Bono is selling her two remaining signature Long Beach eateries (with her ex still running Nico in Naples), so I was a bit concerned. Turns out I had nothing to worry about at all.
WINE: Whitehall Lane Cabernet 2001. The server (Consuelo-- she's a gem!) actually recommended this one instead of a pricier bottle we had initially selected. Excellent choice, it turns out. Complex and sumptuous without tasting odd or too long in the bottle.
APPETIZER: Melanzane involtini. Buffalo mozzarela wrapped in grilled eggplant slices, on top of a basil leaf, an airy crisp cracker and a roasted plum tomato half, drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect starter, wonderful combination of creamy, sweet, sharp, cool, hot....
SALAD: Caesar. How can you screw this up? Well, you can overdress it, for starters. Not Christy's. Everything was in perfect balance. They did throw in an anchovy fillet (a little East Coast Italian touch)-- and sometimes you just want that hint of sea (a bit fishy, intesnsely salty) in your salad.
MAIN COURSE: We had specials. Mine was lamb sirloin over herb polenta, with julienned vegetables and (as I recall) a port wine reduction. My honey had their version of Surf 'n' Turf: six-ounce New York Strip and six-ounce Opa filet, sautéed kale and mashed potatoes with lobster broth. All perfectly prepared, all sublime.
DESSERT: OK, I was jonesing for the chocolate bread pudding, but we went for splitting their special apple and pear tart with cinnamon gelato. Great choice! Simple presentation, superb combination of tastes. Then the birthday gelato came-- a simple martini glass filled with vanilla gelato and berries. Who's complaining? Not me. Too full and content.
DAMAGE: $192 not including a very generous tip to our brilliant and witty server. Pricey, but worth every penny.
Christy's is still worth the trip!!